Health reform news: HSPH Prof recommends single-payer health care system for Vermont

Last year, Harvard School of Public Health economist William Hsiao was commissioned by the Vermont state legislature to design three options for reforming the state health care system. Hsiao, who helped design a single-payer system for Taiwan and has advised eight other nations in their health system reforms, presented his findings before the legislature on January 19, 2011.

Calling the current system “broken”—and pointing to the estimated 32,000 Vermont residents who will remain uninsured even after implementation of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act—Hsiao recommended that Vermont adopt a public/private single-payer system. A single-payer system, he wrote in the statement he submitted to the legislature, “provides insurance coverage to every Vermonter, provides them with a common benefits package, and channels all payments through a single system that establishes uniform processes and rates for all providers.” Such a system, according to Hsiao’s statement, could reduce health care costs in Vermont by 12-14% over time.

Listen to Hsiao’s interview with Vermont Public Radio

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Download Hsiao’s report as well as pdfs of his presentation and full statement to the Vermont legislature here